by Vera Abitbol Leave a Comment
5 oz. queso duro blanco (or parmesan), grated
½ cup whole milk
4 eggs (at room temperature)
1½ cup rice flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup sour cream
1 cup butter (or margarine), melted
4 tablespoons sesame seeds (for sprinkling)
Butter (for the mold)
Flour (for the mold)
Many people know the popular savory Mexican quesadilla, but the very different quesadilla salvadoreña is a delicious dessert, El Salvador‘s ultimate cheesecake.
WHAT IS A QUESADILLA SALVADOREÑA?
An etymological study of the word quesadilla shows that the word comes from the words queso, meaning cheese in Spanish, and the diminutive suffix illa, which appeared in the 15th century, but more precisely from the quesada pasiega, a type of cheese pudding typical of the Cantabrian region of northern Spain that can be served hot or cold and has the consistency of a slightly sweet tasting pudding.
Etymologically, in the Spanish language, words ending in illa or illo are diminutives. Quesada is thus a savory dish or dessert that contains cheese (queso) as a basic ingredient.
The word quesadilla is thus composed of queso plus the feminine diminutive illa, according to a widespread use in the 15th century, which makes it a word of Spanish origin and not a Nahuatlism, or a term related to the Nahuatl language.
Halfway between a very soft loaf of bread and a pound cake, the quesadilla salvadoreña is traditionally prepared with rice flour and some dairy products, and is baked in the oven in a rectangular or square dish.
In general, quesadillas salvadoreñas are always made from rice flour, although they can also be made from maize flour (masa) or wheat flour (trigo).
It is a popular Sunday morning staple in many Salvadorian homes.
HOW TO MAKE QUESADILLA SALVADOREÑA
The recipe and method of preparation for this cheesecake varies from house to house. In addition to the cheese, which is present in every proper Salvadoran refrigerator, two ingredients that Salvadorans make sure they have on hand to prepare a quesadilla are rice flour and ajonjoli (sesame seeds).
In El Salvador, quesadillas are made with the traditional Salvadoran cheese called queso duro blando (hard cheese), which is white in color. It is a cheese that exists in all regions of El Salvador, with a very slightly salty and pleasant flavor.
Queso duro blando is a dry, aged and crumbly cheese. It is excellent as a garnish for tostadas, enchiladas, pupusas, Mexican quesadillas, but also elote loco and salads.
Since this typically Salvadoran cheese is impossible to find outside of El Salvador, many Salvadorans living abroad and especially in the United States recommend replacing it with cotija or parmesan cheese.
Quesadilla salvadoreña is traditionally eaten with atol de elote, a delicious sweet drink made from corn. Originating from the Mayan civilization, it is popular in Central America.
VARIATIONS OF QUESADILLA SALVADOREÑA
Some countries and regions also have their variation of cheesecakes, even cakes as rich as the quesadilla salvadoreña, with dairy products such as yogurt, butter or milk, but with or without cheese often having the same texture as a pound cake.
Some may include the addition of flavoring agents, such as lemon, orange, vanilla or almond extract, or the addition of dried fruits, such as currants or dried cranberries.